Flight Options Pilots Vote on Strike Authorization
Teamsters Local 1108, the union representing some 500 pilots at fractional provider Flight Options, yesterday announced a strike-authorization vote as final sessions of mediated negotiations nears. “Local 1108 is ready to make a fair agreement with Flight Options management,” said Mat Slinghoff, pilot-union president. “A fair agreement requires industry-standard scope protections, benefit security and compensation increases.” The union and Flight Options management have been in negotiations on an initial contract since June 2006, three months after the union was voted in. The parties met last week at National Mediation Board (NMB) offices in Washington to try to reach agreement on remaining compensation, benefit and work-rule issues, without success. The federal mediator subsequently scheduled a final bargaining session for late next month. If these final mediated sessions also fail, then the NMB can offer voluntary binding arbitration. If either party rejects arbitration, a 30-day cooling period starts, after which the pilots are free to strike. Strike-authorization ballots, which have been mailed to the union’s membership, will be counted on October 19. Flight Options said it presented a “comprehensive” proposal to the union last week and is awaiting a counter proposal. In the meantime, the company and pilot union will hold nine non-mediated sessions before the final NMB negotiations start on October 26.